International Center for Tzfat Kabbalah
"Tzfat," groups are told by almost every tour guide who brings his group to the city "is the City of Kabbalah" And, if the guides know a little bit about Jewish Mysticism, they explain that Tzfat was the city where the discipline of Kabbalah was developed and expanded upon in the Middle Ages, as many of the greatest Kabbalistic scholars of the time arrived in the city after the Spanish Expulsion of 1492.
However, many of these guides don't quite understand why Tzfat is known as the City of Kabbalah, nor exactly, or how to explain what kabbalah is to their tourists. So after the initial pronouncement, they continue to guide their visitors through the streets of the Old City, pointing out the synagogues and other sites that have made Tzfat famous.
The International Center for Tzfat Kabbalah is trying to fill this void and help make it easier to understand the meaning of Kabbalah. Located in the heart of the Old City, on Alkabetz street between the ARI Ashkanazi and Abuhav synagogues, the Center is slowly helping to make Kabbalah 'user-friendly', while at the same time maintain its authenticity.
The Kabbalah stems from the Torah and is drawn from the Five Books of Moses, which G-d gave to the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai. Kabbalistic scholars believe that due to this origin, Kabbalah must be studied and understood in conjunction with the Torah and not as a discipline of its own, detached from its roots in the Torah. This belief is what separates the Tzfat Kabbalah Center from the pop-Kabbalah Centers which have sprung up throughout the world. To be properly understood, the International Center for Kabbalah believes, Kabbalah must be studied with the understanding that it is part of the Torah, and must be learned within the framework of Jewish law.
Opportunities for Study and Experience
The Center has been open for two years, and offers visitors the opportunity to delve into Kabbalah study in a variety of ways. Some people are looking for a tour while others request a short learning session. Others come for a series of seminars. The Center is there to answer all their needs. Their staff of guides and lecturers is able to bring the subject alive with creative workshops, storytelling, and visits with local scholars.
The variety of people, both individuals and groups, who have stepped into Kabbalah study through the International Center of Tzfat Kabbalah is staggering. Israelis often come as part of organized tours through schools and work places and others find their way to the center from all over the world. Many English-speakers take advantage of the wide English-program that the Center offers, and German visitors have made so many inquiries about studying Kabbalah that the Center is developing a German website. The Center maintains a staff of French, Spanish and Russian-speaking guides and lecturers, and the Center's library is always available to those who simply want to stop in and look around. All are welcome.
For more information check out the official International Center of Tzfat Kabbalah site.
Address: POB 6286 Old City, Tzfat Israel